Storm in the San Rafael Central Utah


Archaic, Northern San Rafael Style Fremont ?1000 B.C. to 1250 A.D.  Emery County, Utah


I photographed this site on a sunny afternoon, at sunset and on a stormy morning.  Altered lighting totally changed the mood and character of the site.  This approaching storm seemed to catch the sense of something unknown in the very distant past.  


What does it mean? Who made it?  When?   These are the central questions for rock art researchers.  The study of rock art is not a formal academic discipline in the United States.   Some archeologists become involved in rock art research, but most archaeologists study datable structures and artifacts.   Dating petroglyphs and pictographs is far more difficult.  The dates provided are my best guess based on several studies.  Even the separation of petroglyphs and pictographs is arbitrary.  Many petroglyphs were painted with organic-based pigments, which have vanished over time.  Pictographs often have a carved element.


Ancient cultures around the world created rock art.  Utah has a unique assemblage of prehistoric imagery.  Within our borders we have an extraordinary collection of rock art from diverse cultures spanning thousands of years.  The Fremont Culture and its amazing rock art are nearly totally confined to Utah.  The dry, arid climate, rugged topography and rural nature of much of the state have contributed to their preservation.  Utah is recognized globally as an incredible location for the study of ancient cultures.